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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

the agony and the ecstasy


back in the land of all things hockey, i was a connoisseur of the TTC (the toronto transit commission), or subway, or the tube; also known as "the better way" to torontonians. not only was i riding it independently by age 9, but i worked for 2 summers as an underground custodian, (that's janitor to you plebs) to put myself through theatre school.

you see a lot down in toronto's middle earth. and i learned a lot, too. who knew sawdust was so effective in soaking up the vomit of the mind numbingly inebriated?  i even had my very own stalker, who frighteningly sent a letter of verbal diarrhea when i stood him up for a "date". who knew i could look so sexy in stained jeans, work gloves and steel toe work boots? apparently, blue collar was the new black.

but one of the most poignant moments took place on the eastbound platform at dundas west subway station.

most homeless folk are invisible. whether we look away or stare in judgemental silence, they are seen, but rarely acknowledged. but this woman commanded irrepressible energy. the stage was hers. quintessentially dressed a la "homeless"; ill-fitting, mismatched garb, her hair explosions of panicked tufts, and her scent. ah, her scent could have given those bathrooms i used to scrub a run for their money...


i cowardly snuck glances, until fully baring witness to this character. and i was enchanted.

the darkened tunnel stretched westbound, only to reveal an all too frequent occurrence. the eastbound train was stuck. 2 gleaming headlights tantalizingly frozen in the distance. so near. yet so far.

she shuffled frustratingly, dragging her slippered feet in endless circles. and we felt it. her agony. her pained helplessness and castrated power. and we felt this, too. the ecstasy. the hilarity of her overreaction. and the overblown melodrama when we pin our hopes on something so trivial.

there's a thin gap between humor and pain. most say it's time that bridges this gap. i say, it's truth.

["mind the gap"]

because all of us standing on the platform that afternoon, could recognize our self in her behavior. desperate, primal cries. the figurative stomping of feet (and in her case, literal). and our secret desire to have her courage to act the very same way.

today, i was giggling to myself over a particularly witty line from "glee".

[sue sylvester to mr. schuester: "ok, sponge hair, square jaw..."]

i was a little late to the "glee" party, but now there, i shut the party down every time. after artist (actress/writer), my dream profession would have been groupie (especially for mormon rock stars...that's for you, j!), but a very close second would have been singer.

god, i wish i could sing. i would never stop.

(this is not to say i don't. in fact, ask my husband. i sang along with gaga's new smash 9 times in a row before he begged me to stop....)

today, the anticipation in the ivanans-mcintyre homestead was electric. i was primed and ready to burst into song.

ring. ring.

"your creatinine is 4.3 (0.4-1.2) and your BUN is 61 (7-24)".

highest creatinine ever.

["send in the clowns..."]

ring. ring.

"this is cedars-sinai. you are a go. congratulations! kevin has been accepted as your donor."

["oh, what a feeling! we're dancing on the ceiling!"]

"but, we are very busy with transplants now, so we are hoping your surgery will be around april 5th. but we won't know definitively for 2 weeks."

["ohh-oh, we're half way there...ohh-oh, living on a prayer..."]


"the kidney transplant program at usc medical centre has been temporarily suspended. a recipient was mistakenly given the wrong cadaver kidney."

["just gonna stand there and watch me burn...but that's alright because i like the way it hurts..."]

this onslaught of information left me fetal, and triggered a generous flow from my tear ducts. we were so hoping for an earlier surgery date. and so, i seriously began to consider dialysis. would it be worth the painful surgery of a shunt, the thrice weekly, hour long commute back and forth, the hours spent in a hospital bed, under florescent lights; and the emotional toll of watching your entire blood supply slither through plastic tubing and mechanical filters?

[OR nausea, headaches, fatigue, pain, bleeding, diarrhea, sores...]

can i hold on?

["another head aches, another heart breaks; i am so much older than i can take...if you can hold on...hold on..."]

like those subway lights so beguilingly close, eventually our train will arrive at its destination. but, it's that damn metaphorical journey wherein we should thrive. so here's the compromise:

when sprawled, defeated, on my bed, tears of agony will fall...but, i will also sing in ecstasy from the top of my lungs...

[the agony and the ecstasy]

i'll sing...sing...sing...

for the subway. for my dinner.

and for me.

1 comment:

  1. well first YAY!!! That is such good news, but then UGH!!! I saw that news story about USC and the first thing I thought was, at least you are going to Cedars. I didn't think it would impact you :( Will be hoping for April 5th!